After yearning for years for bolder flavors from restaurants, consumers are ready to accept some bitterness. Indeed, that’s what they’d now prefer, according to the research company Technomic Inc.
In a forecast of 10 trends likely to reshape menus in 2015, the Chicago-based firm cites a growing preference for bitter flavors. “Look for darker coffees, deeper chocolates, next-gen cruciferous veggies like cauliflower and collard greens, hoppy beers and cocktails with the bite of bitters,” it advises.
The other trends Technomic foresees:
- Photographic considerations in the age of Instagram will influence plate presentations and even dining room lighting.
- Units, menus and even waitstaffs will get smaller.
- Foodservice options like pop-ups and high-quality vending will put better food in closer reach of customers wherever they happen to be.
- Beverages will increasingly become the products for which restaurants are known.
- The quest for new Asian experiences will raise demand for Vietnamese, Korean and spicy ramen options.
- Health and food-sensitivity considerations will be addressed increasingly though pick-and-choose menus, enabling patrons to build meals consistent with whatever dietary constrictions or concerns are governing their eating habits at the moment.
- A preference for local ingredients will telescope down to a yearning for hyper-local options, like house-filtered water.
- A restaurant’s reputation as an employer will figure more into its popularity as a place to eat.
- The challenge of satisfying multiple generations will intensify as preferences in music, ambience and guest technology grow more disparate.